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GR suggests Metro Gov't

A Metro Government?   100 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the core cities consolidate into a Metro Government?

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    • No
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134 posts in this topic

WoodTV ran a piece about this today: http://woodtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5979551

The article takes a brief look at Grand Rapids wanting to combine the area to save money on redundant services. With any substantial governmental changes there is going to be major skepticism even if it comes with positives. I'm curious as to the real pros and cons to this consolidation. Would you support such a move?

But Grand Rapids City Manager Kurt Kimball said as financial problems continue to mount for communities, a more radical solution may be in order.

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I'm not too sure if GR and Kent County would merge as the charter townships in Michigan hold a massive amount of political power at the state level. But I do see GR merging with its immediete neighbors such as Walker, Kentwood, Wyoming, etc. within 30 to 40 years. As for my opinion of a consolidated metro area, I am in support of the idea not only for savings by eliminating redundant services. It would help focus the region when it comes to masterplanning and managing growth. Also, a consolidated GR would probably give the metro and the region a louder voice at the state and federal levels when it comes to getting grants and funding as well as attracting bussinesses and jobs into the community. The only real consern I have with a merged GR is the core city's troubled school system. Safe guards need to be in place to prevent GRPS's troubles as well as other struggling school districts from draging better performing school districts down with them. But then again troubled school systems could be lifted out of there woes by merging with better performing districts.

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I can see this working, if there is a leveling out of property taxes accompanying it. Right now, there's a big discrepancy between taxes in the cities and the surrounding townships. In addition, the cities of Grand Rapids and Walker charge a 1% income tax that most other communities don't.

Avg. Twp millage comparisons:

Gaines Twp (Caledonia Schools) - 25.70 mills, or $2570/year on a $200,000 home

Grand Rapids Twp (Forest Hills Schools) - 27.82 or $2782/year...

Georgetown Twp (Hudsonville Schools) - 24.90

Plainfield Twp (Northview Schools) - 28.84

Byron Twp (Bryon Ctr Schools) - 27.20

Alpine Twp (Kenowa Hills Schools) - 24.09

Now compared to cities:

Grand Rapids (GR Schools) - 28.92

Grandville (Grandville Schools) - 32.93

Wyoming (Wyoming Schools) - 34.98

Kentwood (Kentwood Schools) - 32.98

It adds up quickly when household budgets are tight. Maybe if they dropped the income tax and brought the property taxes up in the townships to compensate. I know a lot of people who hate the city income tax just on principle.

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In the long run leveling, the playing feild when it comes to property taxes in the city and suburbs be fair. Those living in GR proper would welcome it as they would see there taxes com down a bit. But suberbanites affected by a merger would most likely scream like stuffed hogs as the leveling process would bring up their property taxes.

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In the long run leveling, the playing feild when it comes to property taxes in the city and suburbs be fair. Those living in GR proper would welcome it as they would see there taxes com down a bit. But suberbanites affected by a merger would most likely scream like stuffed hogs as the leveling process would bring up their property taxes.

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Going by your chart changes on property taxes would be marginal if a merger leveled the playing field. Plus I do agree with increase services affected suberbs would enjoy. The trouble is how hard would it be to conveince the average home owner of the facts. I remember here in Walker some years back how hard it was for KHPS to get the people to pass the milliage to build the new High School. That millage was the first school related millage increase in 20 years because every time the school asked for any millage increases people said a loud no at the voting booths. When I was in high school, the building (now the middle school) was in real bad shape. I remember steping over several buckets and ducking below plastic on my way to Art class because the roof leaked. That was a result of the voters around here and their "It was good enough for me, its good enough for you" mantality. It finally took Woodtv 8 to put the high school's problems on the air to change voters' minds. Remembering that experience, I don't have very high hopes for voters easily going for tax or millage increases even if the millage is small and would mean better city services

Well, if you take my chart above, and bumped all the townships up to the Grand Rapids city property tax rate, it would mean maybe $500/year more in property taxes (edit: not even that much, maybe $100 - $200/year), and in exchange, there would be more services (in theory) provided to those township residents. But the screaming would come if everyone were hit with the 1% income tax rate. I think you'd have a mass exodus to further out exurbs. Maybe if they did a metro wide sales tax in exchange for it that included expanded transit services like commuter rail? People are much more willing to pay sales tax than pay income tax.

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Should they? I'd welcome it. I say yes. Will they? I doubt it. But, I will show my full support for such.

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I say just the core cities form a metro Govt. Then keep each place as it is now as a borough. That way they can do their own thing, abut still work together.

And to hell with the charter townships. MErging the cities together to form a more influencial entity will be benificial to all of michigans core cites. It could give the cities more of a say over the overly influencial charter twps.

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I would fully support this measure, and would probably help campaign for it if I had the chance to.

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I like the borough idea from Dtown. I'm not quite sure how that form of government works, but it appears as if the identity of surrounding cities remain intact.

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In the long run leveling, the playing feild when it comes to property taxes in the city and suburbs be fair. Those living in GR proper would welcome it as they would see there taxes com down a bit. But suberbanites affected by a merger would most likely scream like stuffed hogs as the leveling process would bring up their property taxes.

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City-county mergers are the most prevelant type of mergers. I think individually trying to put together the surrounding cities and townships would actually be a much tougher and more complicated proposal.

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I would imagine that it would be tougher, but better. That way it could govern the more urban area instead of the rural area as well.

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The whole point of these types of mergers is to obtain as much land as possible, without diluting the the influence of the Urbanized Area population beyond 50% (i.e. setting the boarders so extensive that the population of the rural areas and outer-ring suburbs is greater than that of the city and inner-ring suburbs). The goal is not to simply govern more urban areas, but as much as you can without sacrificing the influence of the central urban area or services to the furthest areas of the new city. Ultimately, that all aside, the goal is to cut down on the duplication of municipal and county/township services.

Actually, a limited consolidation of the Downriver Communities in Detroit is currently proposed that would merge the fire departments of 5 or so cities. This is a good first step, and example of consolidation proposed for Michigan, which is a state that disincentivizes regional cooperation.

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A consolidated GR-Wyoming-Kentwood creates a city of around 310,000. With a Square Mileage of Just over 90 mi sq, which is still smaller in land area than say Des Moines, where it hase aprox 120,000 more people. It would be one of the 60 largest cities in the country. If you add Walker, you have a population roughly 335,000, and a land area of 120 mi sq. Making it larger than Cities like Cincinatti. A centralized gov't could help out in several different ways. One simply with a larger population. More funding ect.

The suburban residents of the Grand Rapids area, tend to be very ignorant, when it comes to the city. ( Obviously not everyone of them, but I'd say a margin greater than 50%) I see a large portion of them just not wanting "Grand Rapids" on their address labels. I do not see it happening.

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How to the neighboring city governments feel about this idea? I could see people not wanting to lose power, but maybe the aforementioned borough idea could keep some local control in those areas. Any bets as to whether East Grand Rapids would even consider the idea? :)

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The suburban residents of the Grand Rapids area, tend to be very ignorant, when it comes to the city. ( Obviously not everyone of them, but I'd say a margin greater than 50%) I see a large portion of them just not wanting "Grand Rapids" on their address labels. I do not see it happening.

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I live a half mile from the GR border and make that fact known. I would think that this idea makes sense overall.

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A consolidated GR-Wyoming-Kentwood creates a city of around 310,000. With a Square Mileage of Just over 90 mi sq, which is still smaller in land area than say Des Moines, where it hase aprox 120,000 more people. It would be one of the 60 largest cities in the country. If you add Walker, you have a population roughly 335,000, and a land area of 120 mi sq. Making it larger than Cities like Cincinatti. A centralized gov't could help out in several different ways. One simply with a larger population. More funding ect.

The suburban residents of the Grand Rapids area, tend to be very ignorant, when it comes to the city. ( Obviously not everyone of them, but I'd say a margin greater than 50%) I see a large portion of them just not wanting "Grand Rapids" on their address labels. I do not see it happening.

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The suburban residents of the Grand Rapids area, tend to be very ignorant, when it comes to the city. ( Obviously not everyone of them, but I'd say a margin greater than 50%) I see a large portion of them just not wanting "Grand Rapids" on their address labels. I do not see it happening.

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Wyoming might go for this, because they are having budget problems and available land for development (increased tax base) is dwindling. Kentwood has a lot of undeveloped land, and a lot of it is commercial land near the airport, but with continued budget problems at the state level, they may feel pressure to consolidate with Grand Rapids. Walker is in the same boat. A lot of the neighboring townships are probably doing pretty well financially. Gaines Township built a new monument to themselves (new offices) just 5 years ago, so I think they're all set, and I don't think they would go for the idea at all.

I don't think this would have much, if anything, to do with school consolidation. The schools aren't run by the city governments.

When I worked on Roger B. Chaffee Dr years ago, technically it was Wyoming, but the business I worked for refused to put Wyoming in their address labels. They wanted to be associated with Grand Rapids, since they had customers all over the state and Midwest. It drove Wyoming crazy.

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...the goal is to cut down on the duplication of municipal and county/township services.

Actually, a limited consolidation of the Downriver Communities in Detroit is currently proposed that would merge the fire departments of 5 or so cities. ...

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I think this is a great idea, it will also help the expansion of things such as mass transit I believe. Now the real question is what are the odds of this actually happening?

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Wyoming might go for this, because they are having budget problems and available land for development (increased tax base) is dwindling.

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